Guidance and conditions for placing bunting over or near the highway

Consent under the Highways Act 1980: Section 178

  1. The stringing or placing of bunting over, along or in the highway is unlawful without having first obtained the consent of the highway authority.
  2. The relevant legislation may be found in the Highways Act 1980, section 178. Its purpose is to prevent, as far as possible, damage and injury to persons using the highway, which might arise if the placing of bunting was unregulated.
  3. Consent given by the Council under these provisions will therefore have attached to it a series of terms and conditions with regard to the fixing, placement, maintenance and removal of such items. The requirements are thought to be fair and reasonable, bearing in mind the need to protect the public and the applicant, and also in the event of any claim arising as a consequence of placement.
  4. There may be circumstances in which the Council might refuse to give consent. In which case the reasons for refusal will be clearly given. An applicant then has the facility to appeal to a magistrate's court, either against the refusal or against the terms and conditions required by the authority.
  5. A request for the placing of bunting within the highway must be made not less than six weeks before the date of the proposed installation. This will give sufficient time to process the application and resolve any difficulties that may arise.
  6. A request must be accompanied by the following essential information:-
    • Proposed location of bunting
    • Dates required (commencement of installation to complete removal)
    • Certified copy of current certificate of public liability insurance (£10 million)
    • Description of type of bunting to be used
    • Contact person (24 hours), tel. no. (fixed and mobile), e-mail and postal address
    • Method statement for installation, maintenance and removal of bunting
    • Copy of written consent from the owner(s) of the fixing points to use them (where applicable)
    • Copy of the current structural adequacy certificate (obtained from owners of the fixing points).
    • A Street Light Attachment Licence (in the case of street lights being considered as fixing points)
  7. With regard to headroom, the minimum clearance to underside of bunting must be:-
    • Designated High Load Routes – 7.5m
    • Other carriageway and shared surfaces where vehicles have access – 5.7m
    • Footways, footpaths and areas restricted to pedestrians – 2.5m
    • Bridleways and horse margins – 3.5m
  8. The use of street lighting columns for bunting is governed by their design load capacity. The following criteria are therefore rigorously enforced:
    • The use of lighting columns or other columns specifically designed to carry additional loading may be allowed for spanning bunting between columns, and a Street Light Attachment Licence must be approved. Otherwise requests to span columns should be refused.
    • Bunting may be wrapped round the vertical part of the column only, and securely fixed
    • Bunting must not interfere with or obscure the column access door, lantern, attached road signs or column identification number
    • The use of road sign supporting posts, beacon poles or traffic signal posts will not be allowed
    • Visibility of traffic signals and road signs must be maintained at all times
  9. All fixings securing bunting are deemed to be temporary (permanent fixings on buildings excepted). Metal fixing clips, bands etc. are to be from galvanised or stainless steel with 5mm thick neoprene rubber inserts to prevent damage to the column surface coatings.
  10. Bunting should preferably be made of a water resistant material to avoid extra weight in rain or snow. Maximum size of individual pennants to be 300mm long by 230mm wide.
  11. The Council reserves the right to remove the bunting should it become unsafe. The cost of so doing will be recovered from the applicant.


'applicant' means the person(s) or body to whom the consent or refusal will be directed and who will be responsible for the bunting, the installation, maintenance and removal.

'Council' means Surrey County Council

Subscribe to our newsletters for latest news and events.